Back when we started the business, we spent a year developing bread mixes and made thousands of loaves of bread. The best breads were often those that were loaded with dairy—milk, buttermilk, sour cream, and sometimes, cheese. Since you’re interested in bread, we thought we would share this information with you. You will make better bread.
There are some breads that don’t require milk such as French baguettes which are primarily made of flour, salt, and water. But dairy adds flavor and texture to bread and the lactose in milk feeds the yeast.
Dry Dairy Products
While you may add fresh milk or buttermilk to your bread, there are advantages to using dry. It’s convenient to have a stock of dry products always on hand in the cupboard but the baking industry uses dry dairy products for more than convenience: it’s the enzymes. Dairy carries an enzyme that interferes with the growth of yeast. If the dairy product is treated at high heat when drying, the enzyme is destroyed. High heat treated dry milk is called baker’s dry milk. Instant nonfat dry milk normally found in grocery tools is not high-heat treated but are formulated to dissolve easily and taste more like fresh. It is more suitable for drinking than high heat treated but is not advantageous to baking.
Dry dairy products suitable for baking bread include:
These are simply dry dairy products with little if anything else added.
How to Use Dry Dairy Products
We usually add 1/4 to 1/2 cup dry dairy per loaf but how much is a matter of taste. We often add several tablespoons of potato flour as an accompaniment. Potato flour is hygroscopic, that is it draws moisture from the air and helps keep bread moist.
For an example of how to use dry diary in your bread baking, see the recipe for Sour Cream Potato Rolls.
Cheese powder is another matter. Everyone likes cheesy bread and whether dry or fresh, it’s hard to get too much cheese taste.
We have experimented extensively with cheese powder in bread and have found that you can add up to 1/3 as much cheese powder as flour in your recipe. But with this much cheese powder, you will strain the yeast and will have to wait very patiently for the bread to rise.
We have found a commercially available product, Cheese Booster©, that can be added for more cheese flavor without overloading your bread with cheese powder. Depending on how much cheese powder you are using, a tablespoon of Cheese Booster per loaf is adequate. We now sell Cheese Booster.
Unlike other dairy products, cheese powder is high in sodium and sodium retards the growth of yeast. Consequently, when you use cheese powder, reduce or eliminate salt from the recipe.